World Team wins Petrosian Memorial by a point

6/15/2004 – A heroic comeback by the Petrosian team in the final two rounds fell a point short. Anand-Kasparov was one of several short draws in the final round. Vaganian had the only win of the round, an impressive bind against Adams. Gelfand, once Petrosian's star pupil, battled hard for the full point against Bacrot to no avail. Report and games.

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Team Petrosian comeback falls just short

Round 6 (June 15, 2004)
Petrosian Team
3.5-2.5
World Team
Kasparov (3.5/6)
½-½
Anand (3.5/6)
Leko (4)
½-½
Vallejo (3)
Gelfand (2)
½-½
Bacrot (3.5)
Akopian (2.5)
½-½
Svidler (4)
Vaganian (3.5)
1-0
Adams (3)
Lputian (2)
½-½
van Wely (1.5)
Final overall score:
World Team: 18.5 – 17.5 Petrosian Team
View games onlineOfficial Site • Reports: R1R2R3R4R5

It was a valiant effort, but the Petrosian team fell short by the thinnest possible margin at the end. After looking overmatched in the first half, the 'friends of Armenia' squad didn't lose a game in the final two rounds and almost climbed back from a four-point deficit. It was a great match, and it was fitting that the Petrosian Memorial was a team event. Tigran Petrosian consistently put up phenomenal scores in team events throughout his career. An incredible six times he got the best score in the Olympiads playing for the USSR over a 20-year span.

After five draws Rafael Vaganian bared his teeth and squashed Mickey Adams in what must have been one of the ugliest losses in the Englishman's career. It will also provide a lift for club players everywhere who adore the Stonewall variation of the Colle, a rare bird at the GM level. Vaganian got a knight on d6 that will keep Adams up nights and then squeezed before finally administering the coup de grace with a pawn breakthrough.

It was a good reminder that Vaganian was considered one of the toughest players in the world for several decades and he admirably carried the mantle of Armenian chess after Petrosian. He was playing in the Soviet championship before Adams was born!

With Anand coming off of a loss and with his team leading by two points we didn't really expect a battle royal against Kasparov. The world number one strayed from his usual Najdorf to play Kramnik's (and everyone else's) favorite, the Sveshnikov. It isn't the first time Kasparov has ventured it, and there was no question about preparation since the players followed the most popular line all the way to move 20. Anand had reached this position before, last year against Kramnik, and here tried to change the move order up, but didn't get anywhere. The draw was agreed on move 26.

Akopian-Svidler and Vallejo-Leko were short draws. Lputian and van Wely sparred more seriously. The Armenian played a nice petite combination (that's English for petit combinaison) and got a pleasant position with black, but allowed a repetition check. Then it was up to Petrosian's star pupil, Boris Gelfand. He tried his best to grind out a win against Bacrot but the Frenchman defended well to split the point and preserve his team's one-point victory.

There's no "I" in "team", so you can't place blame on anyone or give particular credit, but we will anyway because we get paid by the word around here. Standout performances by Bacrot and Vaganian cancelled out on the scoreboard. Both team leaders were outscored by the second boards. If you have to look for a difference-maker you find Gelfand's -2 performance. He played 132 points below his 2714 rating and didn't score a win.

Vaganian – Adams after 36...g5

This knightmare of a game came to a merciful end when Vaganian finally played 37.d5! If Black captures with the e-pawn Nf5+ wins the house with a triple attack. Instead Adams played 37...Bxd5 38.Nxb5 and resigned.
 

van Wely – Lputian after 23.Qc3

Lputian finds a clever way to keep a knight off of b5 and to activate his rooks. 23...Bxa4 24.Nxa4 Rea8 25.Nxc4 desperado 25...Rxa4 26.Nb2 Ra2 and they played a repetition a few moves later.

 


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